Nicole Laframboise is Renfrew, Ontario's queen of "glamping". Three years ago, she purchased an abandoned 90-acre theme park in the town, an hour west of Ottawa. Laframboise developed it into Elements, the area's first luxury tented campground and spa.
It was a long road to turn this derelict land into a popular campsite that boasts an open-air yoga studio, king-sized beds and even gilt mirrors that once graced Ottawa's famous Chateau Laurier hotel. Ms. Laframboise poured her blood, sweat, tears – and cash – into her development. Despite being incorporated, the 35-year-old admits, "I'm still operating my business with a personal credit card."
Not having a business credit card has been a thorn in Ms. Laframboise's side, though not for much longer. She is currently awaiting approval of her card. As a former bookkeeper, she says that when it happens the benefits will be noticeable almost immediately. The biggest change will be her ability to distinguish between her personal and business finances.
"My accountant hates me," she laughs, describing what it's like to hand over her business transaction and expense records at tax time. "If I forget my debit card and I'm using my credit card for groceries, my accountant has to pick through what's personal and what's business," Ms. Laframboise explains. "They also have to prorate interest rates and transaction fees. It's such a pain."
About 45 per cent of Canada's workforce will consist of freelancers, independent contractors and on-demand workers by 2020, according to a 2016 study by Intuit Canada, developers of finance-tracking software TurboTax and QuickBooks.
For Canada's small business owners, staying on top of spending and preparing files for taxes can be a year-round challenge. One of the biggest mistakes this group makes is mixing personal and business finances, says Gary Timmons, a small business chartered accountant in Ottawa.
He advises his clients to create a clear trail of expenses, useful for everyday bookkeeping and especially in the event of an audit.
"If you have two separate accounts or cards, it makes keeping track of your finances nice and simple," says Mr. Timmons.
Beyond making the accountant's life simpler, the monthly statement from a business credit card can be part of sound business oversight and planning.
"It helps crystallize how your business is really doing by demonstrating exactly where your money is going and where you're spending," says Adrian Lang, BMO's head of Governance and Small Business Solutions, North American Retail Payments, Canadian Personal and Business Banking.
"It can also help identify areas where a small business owner might be able to save some money," she says.
For business owners, having both a personal and a business credit card in their wallet can offer other benefits. For instance, certain cards offer flexibility when earning rewards. Ms. Lang notes that if you have a personal AIR MILES credit card and a business AIR MILES credit card, you can actually pool those miles to use towards a reward.
"Or you can choose to collect travel rewards on your personal card and get a cash-back option on your business card, so you can take advantage of both reward types," says Ms. Lang.
To Ms. Laframboise, her style of camping may be glamorous but tracking finances isn't. Getting a small business credit card for Elements is elemental to putting her financial house in order.
"Having a clear separation between personal and business expenses is much easier on the accounting end," she says.
To find out more about the suite of BMO's new small business credit cards, and other products and services for small business, visit bmo.com/business.
This content was produced by The Globe and Mail's Globe Content Studio, in consultation with an advertiser. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.